Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath says ordinary AIB customers and staff will again suffer from the bank’s excesses as it increases interest rates and closes branches in an effort to regain profitability.
Deputy McGrath said, “The operating loss of €1.1 billion reported today for the six months to the end of June provides a stark reminder once again of the legacy of grotesque management of the bank during the so called ‘boom years’
“The bank’s standard variable rate mortgage customers are being punished for the mistakes of the bank. The 0.5% rate increase will inevitably result in more AIB mortgage-holders falling into arrears and deeper financial difficulty. The standard variable rate customers are easy targets and are now having the benefit of previous ECB rate reductions being wiped out. The rate increase comes at a time when most people can ill afford to make larger mortgage repayments.
“Communities right around the country will also suffer with the closure of 67 branches. AIB will have to ensure that these communities will be offered essential banking services at their local post office before any branch closures are allowed to take place. This change provides enormous challenges and opportunities for the Post Office network.
“Today is also another black day for staff at AIB, many of whom will now have little choice but to avail of the ‘voluntary’ redundancy programme in place. I suspect that, over the period ahead, the bank is looking for considerably more than the 2,500 redundancies it has publicly identified.
“Today’s announcement is further evidence that AIB has some distance to go on its painful journey to become a ‘pillar’ bank in the true sense of the word. Many people will justifiably feel aggrieved that this is the thanks they get from a bank that has received over €20 billion from Irish citizens,” concluded Deputy McGrath.